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Past Winner
2007 Innovation Challenge Award

Christopher Springate

CC Paste™ Targeted Delivery for Cancer

The University of British Columbia

Chris Springate, a recent PhD graduate in pharmaceutical sciences at the University of British Columbia (UBC), has pioneered a targeted drug delivery system that can boost the effectiveness, while reducing the frequency and side effects, of potentially toxic cancer therapies.

Springate's invention, known as CC Paste, is an injectable implant that aids in delivering therapeutic sequences of nucleic acids (oligonucleotides) to tumours, while ensuring the remedy's concentrations are maintained at the disease site. The potential result for patients is that injections would only have to occur monthly, rather than daily.

For his invention, Dr. Springate earned the runner-up prize in NSERC's 2007 Innovation Challenge Awards competition. These awards pay tribute to graduate students who demonstrate real-world applications of their research.

CC Paste, aptly named for its semi-solid consistency, is based on mixing negatively-charged therapeutic oligonucleotides with positively-charged chitosan – a natural polymer found in crustacean shells.

Dr. Springate recently completed early proof-of-principle studies of CC Paste for treating prostate and skin (melanoma) cancer – a global market estimated at more than $3 billion annually. Those studies, involving the controlled release of antisense oligonucleotides, yielded more than a 50 per cent reduction in tumours in animal models.

Prior to starting his doctoral studies, Dr. Springate co-founded ARC Pharmaceuticals Inc. to serve as a commercialization vehicle for his research. As President and CEO, Dr. Springate was instrumental in licensing the CC Paste technology from UBC.

ARC is now levering some of the fundamental science behind CC Paste to advance its lead product, known as ARCAD Instillate – a liquid solution composed of fucoidan, a natural polymer derived from sea weed, designed to treat and prevent surgical adhesions.

Surgical adhesions, which can leave patients in debilitating pain, result from abnormal healing between adjacent tissues following a surgical procedure. They form due to a complex inflammatory response in which tissues that normally remain separated in the body become physically attached to each other.

As an easily administered liquid product that flows through the surgical area to prevent the formation of adhesions, ARCAD Instillate is targeted to a worldwide market that is expected to top C$1 billion by 2012.